C.J. Harris, the former American Idol contestant who died Sunday in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama, suffered a fatal heart attack, the Walker County Coroner’s Office has confirmed to Deadline.
The 31-year-old Harris was rushed to the hospital but CPR efforts proved unsuccessful.
The singer, born Curtis Harris, was a Top 6 contestant on American Idol in 2014, winning over the judges and audience before the semi-finals with soulful interpretations of the Southern Rock classic hits “Soulshine” (by the Allman Brothers Band) and “Can’t You See” (by The Marshall Tucker Band).
Although he advanced to the semi-finals, Harris was eliminated in the sixth round on on April 24, 2014. The year’s winner was Caleb Johnson.
After his Idol season, Harris continued his music career, releasing his debut single in 2019 with the song “In Love.”
After his death, American Idol released a statement reading “C.J. Harris was an incredible talent, and the news of his passing deeply saddens us. He will be truly missed.”
Jessica Meuse, one of Harris’ competitors on the show, posted a tribute to him on Instagram, writing, “Your talent and smile will be missed, and the world is definitely a darker and eerily quieter place without you in it. I’ll miss your random phone calls asking for life advice and talking about the music world. When you go through something like Idol together, it brings everyone involved together like a big, weird, dysfunctional family. I’m grateful that our paths crossed and that I can say you were (and always will be) a part of mine. There are a lot of things I realize I will never understand — you leaving us so soon is one of those things. Rest easy, friend. See you on the other side.”
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